Study reveals early warning signs of heart problems in patients with newly diagnosed lupus

Cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of death in patients with lupus, a systemic autoimmune disease. In a new study in Arthritis & Rheumatology–a journal published by Wiley on behalf of the American College of Rheumatology–imaging tests revealed signs of cardiac impairment in patients newly diagnosed with lupus, even before any symptoms of chest discomfort.

To determine whether cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging might uncover early indicators of silent heart problems in patients with lupus, a team led by Meng Jiang, MD, PhD, FSCMR and Jun Pu, MD, PhD, FACC, of Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China, studied 50 patients recently diagnosed with lupus, 60 patients with longstanding lupus, and 50 healthy controls.

Imaging tests revealed structural and functional changes in the hearts of patients with lupus, and the extent of the changes–including signs of scarring, or fibrosis–were related to lupus stage. The findings indicate that early detection and treatment of heart problems may benefit patients with lupus.

Current tests that assess lupus patients' heart health often do not examine changes that are visible with CMR. Therefore, CMR may be useful for detecting the markers of cardiac problems that arise early in the disease process. When these markers are evident, certain therapies may help protect patients' hearts from additional damage.

"Our findings may affect current lupus diagnostics and treatment–meaning more patients with silent cardiac insults could be identified and receive proper treatment," said Dr. Pu.

Also, once fibrosis appears at later stages, anti-fibrotic treatments may be appropriate, noted Dr. Jiang. "Whether these treatments will improve a patient's prognosis still needs to be evaluated by further clinical studies," she said.


Additional Information

The information contained in this release is protected by copyright. Members of the media may sign up for embargoed news or to request a copy of any study please contact:

Dawn Peters (US) +1 781-388-8408
[email protected]

Follow us on Twitter @WileyNews

Full Citation

"Early Detection of Silent Myocardial Impairment in Patients with New Onset Drug- Naïve Systemic Lupus Erythematosus – A Three-Center Prospective Study (Myocardial Impairment in New Onset SLE)." Qiang Guo, Lian-Ming Wu, Zi Wang, Jia-Yan Shen, Xuan Su, Chang-Qian Wang, Xing-Rong Gong, Qing-Ran Yan, Qing He, Wei Zhang, Jian-Rong Xu, Meng Jiang, and Jun Pu. Arthritis & Rheumatology; Published Online: August 2, 2018 (DOI: 10.1002/art.40671).

URL Upon Publication:

Author Contact: [email protected], at Shanghai Jiao Tong University's Ren Ji Hospital.

About the Journal

Arthritis & Rheumatology is an official journal of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) and covers all aspects of inflammatory disease. The American College of Rheumatology ( is the professional organization whose members share a dedication to healing, preventing disability, and curing the more than 100 types of arthritis and related disabling and sometimes fatal disorders of the joints, muscles, and bones. Members include practicing physicians, research scientists, nurses, physical and occupational therapists, psychologists, and social workers. The journal is published by Wiley on behalf of the ACR. For more information, please visit

About Wiley

Wiley, a global research and learning company, helps people and organizations develop the skills and knowledge they need to succeed. Our online scientific, technical, medical, and scholarly journals, combined with our digital learning, assessment and certification solutions help universities, learned societies, businesses, governments and individuals increase the academic and professional impact of their work. For more than 210 years, we have delivered consistent performance to our stakeholders. The company's website can be accessed at

Media Contact

Dawn Peters
[email protected]